by Zoe Hawkins
Team Vodafone Sailing pictured in the BMW Auckland Regatta
Eight days out from the Sail Noumea race, if the nine crew of TeamVodafoneSailing could have anything they wanted, it would probably be to set a sub two day race record.
But they are coy about their chances.
'The boat is capable of doing 500 nautical miles a day in ideal conditions, and the race is 975nm long,' says Skipper Simon Hull.
'But that would require everything to go our way. We'd need a very favourable wind direction, probably a moderate Westerly, and a calm sea state, and it's probably too much to ask.'
He says they will be happy to complete the race to Noumea in anything less than the time set by Zana in 2004, which is 2 days, 22 hours, 9 minutes and 50 seconds, but anything in the three to four day range would be very respectable.
Nick Hawke speaking at the farewell function for Sail Noumea 2012
'We are going to treat the race as a sprint. We are taking two extra crew so that we can keep changing gears and going as fast as possible,' he says.
'With 15-25 knots of breeze on the beam or just aft of the beam, we could averaage 20-25 knots all the way there, and that is hard work for the crew.'
The 60 foot trimaran has secured a number of records in significant events, including finishing the famous Coastal Classic in under six hours, but a major offshore record has eluded the team so far.
'We'd love to take a victory and a record in this race,' says Simon Hull, 'but you just have to take what is thrown at you in this sport, and do the best you can with the conditions you get.'
Simon says that navigation through the reefs at the entrance to Noumea will be tricky.
TeamVodafoneSailing hits warp speed - Coastal Classic - 2011
17 boats have entered the race from New Zealand, and 12 from Australia. They will start in Auckland and Brisbane, and converge on the same finish line.
Evolution Sails Sail Noumea is a joint venture between Royal Akarana Yacht Club, the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron, and Cercle Nautique Caledoinen,. The New Zealand leg starts at 2pm on Saturday 2 June, from the Waitemata Harbour, and finishes inside the reef off Cercle Nautique Caledonien in Noumea. Spectators in Auckland will be able to view the start from North Head.
After the Noumea race, TeamVodafoneSailing will embark on its Australian campaign, which includes the Airlie Beach and Hamilton Island Race Weeks in August, sailing against the Australian owned rival Orma 60, Team Australia.
TeamVodafoneSailing is also supported by Line 7, Predictwind.com, Seatrade, Fusion, Harken, Fineline, B&G, Steinlager, Safety at Sea and Wilde Media.